Soil-related performance variation and distributions of tree species in a Bornean rain forest
Article first published online: 29 JUN 2005
Journal of Ecology
Volume 93, Issue 5, pages 879–889, October 2005
How to Cite
RUSSO, S. E., DAVIES, S. J., KING, D. A. and TAN, S. (2005), Soil-related performance variation and distributions of tree species in a Bornean rain forest. Journal of Ecology, 93: 879–889. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2005.01030.x
- Issue published online: 29 JUN 2005
- Article first published online: 29 JUN 2005
- Received 16 July 2004 revision accepted 13 April 2005 Handling Editor: Hanna Tuomisto
- mixed dipterocarp tropical forest;
- niche differentiation;
- 1Spatial distributions of tropical trees often correlate with environmental variation, suggesting that ecological sorting caused by niche differentiation may be important for maintaining species diversity.
- 2Four soil types have been identified in a 52-ha forest dynamics plot in Bornean mixed dipterocarp forest (ranked by increasing fertility and moisture: sandy loam, loam, fine loam, and clay). The distributions of 73% of tree species in the plot are significantly aggregated on one of these soil types. We tested the hypothesis that variation in performance (growth and mortality) underlies these edaphically biased species distributions.
- 3Annual growth and mortality rates over 5 years were estimated for trees ≥ 1 cm in diameter and compared among soil types, life histories and species-aggregation patterns.
- 4Overall, growth and mortality rates were lowest on the poorest soil (sandy loam). Growth rates on each soil type correlated with soil fertility for pioneers, while mortality rates correlated with soil fertility for both pioneers and late-successional species.
- 5There was little evidence that soil specialists had a home-soil performance advantage. Soil-specific ranks of growth and mortality rates of each species-aggregation group largely mirrored the ranks of their rates across the plot and did not shift substantially among soil types. On every soil, species aggregated on sandy loam or clay ranked last or next-to-last, and species aggregated on loam ranked the highest.
- 6Ecological sorting of species among soils was strong. With increasing diameter, species were lost from the soils on which they were not aggregated more frequently than would be expected based on random mortality. The underlying mechanisms of ecological sorting may involve low mortality rates as a requirement for species to achieve high abundance on the poorest soil, whereas for the richer soils, having high growth rates appears relatively more important for achieving high abundance.
- 7Thus, species’ demographic responses to resource variation among soil types, especially related to the poorest soil, affects tree species distribution patterns in this forest and thereby influences the structure of tropical forest communities.